Legal Blog

How Do You Choose a Parenting Plan that is Right for You?

Close up compassionate parent holding hands of little kid girlChoosing a parenting plan during divorce or separation is a significant decision that requires careful consideration of your children’s needs and your family’s circumstances. Here are steps to help you pick a parenting plan:

  1. Put Children First: The primary consideration in choosing a parenting plan should always be the best interests of your children. Focus on creating a plan that promotes their well-being, stability, and healthy development.
  2. Consider Each Parent’s Schedule: Take into account each parent’s work schedule, travel commitments, and other obligations when designing the parenting plan. Be realistic about what is feasible for both parents and prioritize consistency and predictability for the children.
  3. Create a Detailed Schedule: Develop a detailed schedule outlining when the children will be with each parent, including weekdays, weekends, holidays, vacations, and special occasions. Be specific about pickup/drop-off times and locations to minimize confusion.
  4. Factor in Distance and Logistics: If one parent lives far away or travel between households is required, consider how this will impact the parenting plan. Explore options for accommodating travel logistics and maintaining regular contact with both parents.
  5. Promote Parent-Child Relationships: Ensure that the parenting plan allows for meaningful and frequent contact between the children and both parents. Encourage opportunities for quality time, bonding, and shared activities with each parent.
  6. Address Parenting Responsibilities: Clearly outline each parent’s rights and responsibilities regarding decision-making authority, healthcare, education, extracurricular activities, and other aspects of parenting. Consider how major decisions will be made and how conflicts will be resolved.
  7. Be Flexible and Responsive: Recognize that parenting plans may need to be adjusted over time to accommodate changing circumstances or the evolving needs of your children. Build flexibility into the plan and be willing to revisit and revise it as necessary.
  8. Communicate Openly: Maintain open and respectful communication with your co-parent throughout the process of creating the parenting plan. Listen to each other’s concerns, preferences, and suggestions, and strive to reach agreements that are mutually acceptable.
  9. Seek Professional Guidance: Retain a family law attorney who focuses on custody. They can provide guidance, facilitate discussions, and help you create a plan that works for your family.
  10. Focus on Co-Parenting: Emphasize the importance of cooperative co-parenting and fostering a positive relationship with your co-parent for the sake of your children. Commit to working together, communicating effectively, and resolving conflicts peacefully.

Remember that every family is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all parenting plan. The key is to create a plan that prioritizes the well-being of your children, promotes their healthy development, and accommodates the needs and circumstances of both parents.


Heather Scalzo is a family court litigator with 20 years of courtroom experience. She represents clients in all aspects of family law, including divorce matters, child and spousal support actions, child custody cases, adoptions, abuse and neglect cases brought by DSS and juvenile criminal defense cases.